Two years after he co-founded the Packers with Curly Lambeau, George Calhoun began writing a piece called The Dope Sheet, which served as the official press release and game program from 1921-24.
Honoring Calhoun, the first publicity director, the Packers are running this weekly feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com.
This is an abbreviated version of the Packers-Eagles Wild Card Playoff Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Eagles Wild Card Playoff Dope Sheet:
GREEN BAY (10-6) AT PHILADELPHIA (10-6)
Sunday, Jan. 9 - Lincoln Financial Field - 3:30 p.m. CST
PACKERS AND EAGLES MEET AGAIN IN THE PLAYOFFS
- After opening the season against each other in Philadelphia, a 27-20 Green Bay win, the Packers and Eagles will meet again on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, this time in an NFC Wild Card contest.
- At 10-6, Green Bay earned its third postseason berth in four seasons and will be the No. 6 seed as one of two NFC Wild Card entrants. It was the Packers’ second straight double-digit win season, the first time since 2003-04 that they have accomplished that feat.
- The Packers (2007, 2009, 2010) are one of only two teams in the NFC to advance to the postseason in three of the past four seasons, with the Eagles (2008-10) the other team to do so.
- It is the second straight year the Packers will open the playoffs on the road, the first time in franchise history that Green Bay has done so in back-to-back seasons.
- Sunday will mark the third postseason meeting in the all-time series, with the previous two coming in Philadelphia. This is the second time the teams have played twice in a season. In 2003, The Eagles played at Lambeau Field on Nov. 10, 2003, before hosting Green Bay in an NFC Divisional Playoff game on Jan. 11, 2004.
- Sunday’s game is a matchup of two of the most successful teams in the league over the past decade. Since 2000, the Eagles have a regular-season record of 113-62-1 (.645), No. 4 in the NFL and No. 1 in the NFC. The Packers have posted a mark of 105-71-0 (.597) over that span, good for No. 5 in the NFL and No. 2 in the NFC.
- There have been only two seasons (1999, 2005) since 1992 that didn’t include either the Packers or the Eagles in the playoffs. Since realignment in 2002, the Eagles lead the NFC with seven playoff berths, while the Packers are tied for No. 2 (with Seattle) with six appearances.
- This season marks the 50th anniversary of the most famous matchup between the teams. On Dec. 26, 1960, Philadelphia beat Green Bay, 17-13, in the NFL Championship Game at Franklin Field. It was Vince Lombardi’s lone postseason loss as he went on to lead Green Bay to nine straight playoff wins after the loss in Philadelphia.
- Philadelphia, by virtue of its first NFC East title since 2006, secured the No. 3 seed. The Eagles were the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs each of the past two seasons.
WITH THE CALL
- FOX Sports, now in its 17th season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to a national audience.
- Play-by-play man Joe Buck and color analyst Troy Aikman will have the call from the broadcast booth with Pam Oliver and Chris Myers reporting from the sidelines.
- Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 53-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo enters its 12th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 43 markets in five states.
- Westwood One radio will air the game across the country. Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Trent Green (analyst) will call the action with Laura Okmin reporting from the sidelines, and Scott Graham hosts pregame and halftime shows.
- Univison Radio will also broadcast the game with Jorge Perez Navarro (play-by-play) and Joaquin Duro (color) calling the action.
- For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 125 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
BACK IN THE POSTSEASON
- Green Bay’s 26th postseason berth in team history marks the franchise’s 13th appearance in the last 18 seasons and the third in the past four seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- The Packers’ 26 playoff appearances rank tied for No. 4 in NFL history behind only the N.Y. Giants and Dallas (30 each) and Cleveland/L.A./St. Louis Rams (27).
- The Packers own the league’s third best postseason winning percentage (.610, 25-16) among NFL teams behind Pittsburgh (.620, 31-19) and Baltimore (.615, 8-5).
- A second-place finish in the NFC North gave Green Bay one of the NFC’s two Wild Card berths. Not including the 1982 season, which involved a different playoff system due to a strike-shortened season, the Packers have made their way to the postseason via the Wild Card five previous times before: 1993, 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2009. In three out of five appearances as an NFC Wild Card, Green Bay won its first game.
- Green Bay was 3-3 this season against 2010 playoff teams, with two of the wins coming on the road (Philadelphia, Week 1; N.Y. Jets, Week 8). The Eagles were 2-2 on the year against ’10 playoff teams.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles:
All-time regular season: 24-13-0
All-time, postseason: 0-2
All-time, in Philadelphia: 8-11-0 (incl. postseason)
Streaks: The Eagles have won five of the last seven, including the ‘03 NFC Divisional playoff, but the Packers have won the last two.
Last meeting, regular season: Sept. 12, 2010, at Lincoln Financial Field; Packers won, 27-20
Last meeting, postseason: Jan. 11, 2004, at Lincoln Financial Field; Eagles won, 20-17 OT
Mike McCarthy: 49-34-0, .590, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Andy Reid: 128-81-1, .612 (incl. 10-7 postseason); 12th NFL season
Head to Head: McCarthy 2-1
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 2-1 vs. Eagles; Reid 5-3 vs. Packers
MIKE McCARTHY…Is in fifth year as the Packers’ 14th head coach.
- Has led his team to the playoffs three of the past four years.
- One of only two coaches, along with New Orleans’ Sean Payton, to have his offense ranked in the top 10 in total yardage each of the last five years.
- Was named Packers head coach on Jan. 12, 2006, his first head coaching job after 13 years as an NFL assistant.
- Honored as the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year and NFL Alumni Coach of the Year.
- Became the first Packers coach since Vince Lombardi to lead the team to a championship game in his second season.
ANDY REID…Is in 12th year as the Eagles’ 21st head coach.
- Has compiled the highest win total (128), winning percentage (.612) and playoff victory total (10) in team history.
- Has captured six division titles and advanced to the NFC Championship Game five times, reaching the Super Bowl once (2004).
- Is the second longest tenured coach head coach in the NFL behind Tennessee’s Jeff Fisher.
- Is one of only five active coaches to reach 100 career wins, and ranks second in winning percentage among all who have coached at least 100 games, behind only New England’s Bill Belichick.
THE PACKERS-EAGLES SERIES
- The clubs first met in 1933, the Eagles’ inaugural year in the NFL.
- Prior to the Packers’ 2007 and 2010 wins, the Eagles had won five straight, including a 20-17 OT decision in the 2003 NFC Divisional playoffs.
- Philadelphia was the only team to defeat Vince Lombardi in a postseason game. The Eagles edged the Packers, 17-13, at Franklin Field for the 1960 NFL championship. The legendary coach won nine straight playoff games after that loss.
- Before that 1960 game, the Packers had won 13 of the teams’ first 14 meetings, including the first nine in a row (1933-46).
- The Packers broke a nine-game losing streak in Philly with their season-opening win this year. The losing streak began in 1974. Prior to this year, Green Bay’s last win in Philly came in 1962.
In Green Bay, Andy Reid was a TE/O-line asst. coach from 1992-96 and QB coach from 1997-98. The following year, when he became the Eagles’ head coach in 1999, he was replaced as Green Bay’s QB coach by Mike McCarthy...Packers DL coach Mike Trgovac held the same post with the Eagles for four seasons (1995-98)...Three Philadelphia assistant coaches spent time on Green Bay’s staff: asst. head coach/off. coord. Marty Mornhinweg (1995-96), senior asst./DB coach Dick Jauron (1986-94) and head strength & cond. coach Barry Rubin (1999-2005)...Eagles offensive quality control coach Doug Pederson is a former Packers QB who backed up Brett Favre from 1996-98 and 2001-04...Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was the DBs coach for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars (USFL) from 1984-85...Eagles asst. LB coach Mike Caldwell, as a pro LB, was a teammate of Packers LB Clay Matthews’ father with the Browns in 1993, the elder Matthews’ final season in Cleveland. He also played for Carolina’s defense in 2003, Trgovac’s first season as def. coord. there...Packers RB John Kuhn is a native of York, Pa., and played at Shippensburg University...Eagles special teams quality control coach Jeff Nixon coached at Shippensburg when Kuhn played there...Packers director of player development Rob Davis became the first player ever from Shippensburg to play in the NFL...Packers off. coord. Joe Philbin spent four years coaching at Allegheny College (Pa.)...Eagles LB Stewart Bradley and Packers RB Brandon Jackson were teammates at Nebraska and were drafted 24 spots apart in 2007 (Jackson 63rd overall, Bradley 87th)...Eagles CB Asante Samuel and Packers S Atari Bigby played in the same secondary for two years at Central Florida (2001-02), while Eagles S Kurt Coleman and Packers CB Brandon Underwood were both reserve DBs at Ohio State in 2006...Other former college teammates include Eagles DT Antonio Dixon and Packers CB Sam Shields (Miami), Eagles T King Dunlap and Packers CB Pat Lee (Auburn), Eagles LB Omar Gaither and Packers C Scott Wells (Tennessee), Eagles T Winston Justice and Packers LB Clay Matthews (USC), Eagles CB Trevard Lindley and Packers P Tim Masthay (Kentucky), Eagles S Quintin Mikell and Packers G Daryn Colledge (Boise State), and Eagles T Jason Peters and Packers LS Brett Goode (Arkansas).
INDIVIDUALLY VS. EAGLES
While playing for St. Louis, DE Ryan Pickett had the first of his three career-best 12-tackle games at Philadelphia on Dec. 1, 2002...In eight career games against the Eagles, including playoffs, WR Donald Driver has 28 receptions for 322 yards. He scored his first career TD vs. Philly in the opener this year...WR Greg Jennings has 10 catches for 168 yards and a TD in two meetings (‘06, ‘10), while RB Brandon Jackson has totaled exactly 75 yards from scrimmage in each of his two games (‘07, ‘10), with a combined 33 rushes for 103 yards and six catches for 47 yards...K Mason Crosby has a pair of 50-plus FGs in two games against the Eagles, including a franchise-record 56-yarder in the ‘10 opener.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Sept. 12, 2010, at Lincoln Financial Field; Packers won, 27-20.
- The Packers jumped out to a 20-3 lead in the third quarter and then hung on as QB Michael Vick took over for a concussed Kevin Kolb for the Eagles.
- Packers LB Clay Matthews had three of Green Bay’s six sacks, one of them knocking Kolb from the game. Vick took over and proceeded to rush for 103 yards and throw for 175 in bringing the Eagles back.
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw TD passes to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, the latter a 32-yarder for a 27-10 lead late in the third. The lost RB Ryan Grant for the season to an ankle injury in the second quarter, but Grant and Brandon Jackson combined for 108 yards on the ground.
- Within seven points in the final minutes, the Eagles drove to the Green Bay 42-yard line, but Matthews and a host of defenders combined to stuff Vick on a fourth-and-1 sneak to seal the win.
LAST MEETING, POSTSEASON
- Jan. 11, 2004, at Lincoln Financial Field; Eagles won, 20-17 OT.
- The Packers jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind two TD passes from Brett Favre to Robert Ferguson, but a failed fourth-and-goal run by Ahman Green just before halftime prevented Green Bay from extending its lead.
- Donovan McNabb rushed for 107 yards and threw TD passes to Duce Staley and Todd Pinkston, the latter early in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 14.
- Then with the Packers leading by three and a little over a minute left, McNabb completed a 28-yard pass to Freddie Mitchell on fourth-and-26 to set up the game-tying 37-yard FG by David Akers.
- A Favre interception in OT then led to a game-winning 31-yard FG.
GREEN BAY AS A WILD CARD
- Now in the 26th postseason appearance in team history, Green Bay is one of the conference’s Wild Card entrants for the sixth time, excluding the strike-shortened 1982 season which had a different playoff format.
- The Packers made their way to the postseason via the Wild Card in 1993, ’94, ’98, 2001 and 2009. In three out of five appearances as an NFC Wild Card, Green Bay won its first game.
- Its first time in 1993 brought one of the most electrifying victories in team postseason history, as a touchdown pass in the final minute gave Green Bay the edge over the division-rival Lions in Detroit, 28-24.
- In 1994, Green Bay hosted a game at Lambeau Field as a Wild Card, a time when the NFL had three division champions and three Wild Card entrants. Its first home playoff game since 1982 brought another victory over the Lions, 16-12.
- Another memorable game, albeit not for Green Bay, came in 1998. Having won five straight over San Francisco, Green Bay surged ahead just after the two-minute warning. However, a Steve Young-to-Terrell Owens touchdown pass with three seconds remaining gave the 49ers a 30-27 victory.
- Green Bay exacted its revenge on the 49ers in the Wild Card round in 2001 at Lambeau Field. Four second-half scoring drives helped push the Packers ahead, scoring the game’s final 10 points for a 25-15 win.
- The Packers were part of the highest-scoring postseason game in NFL history last season, a 51-45 overtime loss to Arizona in a Wild Card contest. The shootout featured Green Bay playoff records of 493 total yards, 423 passing yards from QB Aaron Rodgers and 159 yards receiving from TE Jermichael Finley. Rodgers also tied team playoff records with four TD passes and 28 completions.
- Wild Card teams have achieved postseason success in recent years. Last season, the N.Y. Jets reached the conference title game, while the New York Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 as a Wild Card entrant. Two Wild Card teams also reached the conference title games in ’05 (Carolina and Pittsburgh), with the Steelers going on to win Super Bowl XL.
PRODUCTION ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL
- Green Bay was one of four teams in the NFL to have both the offense (No. 9) and defense (No. 5) rank among the league’s top 10. That is the second straight year the Packers have had both units finish in the top 10 with the 2009 team featuring the No. 6 offense and the No. 2 defense, and the first time Green Bay has accomplished that feat since 1997-98.
- Green Bay’s offense ranked among the league’s top 10 for the fifth consecutive season and posted its most prolific performance of the season against the Giants in Week 16 when it recorded a season-high 515 yards of offense, the most since the Packers registered 548 at Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003.
- Despite missing the Week 15 contest at New England due to a concussion, QB Aaron Rodgers finished among the top 10 in nearly every significant passing category for the second straight season.
- Rodgers spread the ball around, with three wide receivers hitting the 50-catch mark for the first time in franchise history. Greg Jennings (76), Donald Driver (51) and James Jones (50) all posted 50 receptions on the season. The Packers were one of only five NFL teams in 2010 to have three WRs with 50-plus receptions.
- On the other side of the ball, the Packers posted their best scoring defense mark since the Super Bowl champion team of 1996 (13.1 ppg). Green Bay finished No. 2 in the league by giving up 15.0 points per game, trailing only Pittsburgh (14.5), highlighted by three games where its opponent did not get into the end zone.
- The Packers also posted 47 sacks, the most by a Green Bay defense since the 2001 team registered 52. With the 47 sacks, the Packers finished tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Pittsburgh (48).
- Green Bay finished No. 6 in the NFL with 32 takeaways, including 24 interceptions (No. 2). It was the second straight 30-plus takeaway season for the Packers, the first time they have accomplished that feat since 2002-03.
WINNING WHEN IT COUNTS
- Green Bay finished the season on a two-game winning streak for the second straight year, improving its regular-season record in December/January games to 7-3 over the past two seasons.
- Now the task for the Packers is to carry over that late-season success into the playoffs. Since Head Coach Mike McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers have a 15-8 record (.652) in December/January games, the No. 2 mark in the NFC over that span behind only the team they will face on Sunday. Philadelphia’s 18-6 mark (.750) since ’06 leads the NFC and ranks No. 3 in the NFL.
- The Packers own one of the NFL’s best home records since 2000 in regular-season games played in December and January. Now at 23-4 (.852), only New England (23-3, .885) owns a better home record over that period.
TAKING HIS PLACE AMONG THE GAME’S BEST
- With 35 passing attempts at Atlanta in Week 12, Aaron Rodgers sur-
- passed the 1,500-attempt plateau for his career, the benchmark to qualify
- for career passer rating in the NFL.
- Rodgers has completed 1,038-of-1,611 passes (64.4 percent) in his career for 12,723 yards and 87 touchdowns with 32 interceptions for a 98.4 passer rating.
- That rating ranks No. 1 in NFL history, ahead of San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who has a 97.2 career rating.
- Four of the top five rated passers in NFL history are active quarterbacks, with Steve Young (96.8), Tony Romo (95.5) and Tom Brady (95.2) rounding out the top five.
- With a passer rating of 101.2 this season, QB Aaron Rodgers became the first quarterback in franchise history to record a 100-plus passer rating in back-to-back seasons (103.2 in 2009).
- Rodgers joins Rivers as the only NFL signal-callers to register a 100-plus rating in each of the past two seasons, and Rodgers’ combined rating of 102.3 in 2009-10 ranks No. 3 in the league behind Brady (103.1) and Rivers (103.0).
- Having missed the Week 15 game at New England and half of the previous game at Detroit due to a concussion, Rodgers fell 78 yards shy of his third straight 4,000-yard season.
- With 3,922 passing yards this season, it brought Rodgers’ total in three seasons as a starter to 12,394. That ranks No. 2 in NFL history behind only Kurt Warner (12,612, 1999-2001) for the most passing yards by a QB in his first three seasons as a starter.
- Rodgers completed 312-of-475 passes on the season, a 65.7 completion percentage that ranks No. 2 in team history behind only Brett Favre’s 66.5 mark in 2007.
- Rodgers has thrown just 31 interceptions in his three seasons as a starter, a 2.0 interception percentage that leads the league over that span among quarterbacks with 40 or more starts.
- Rodgers also ranks No. 1 in NFL history (min. 1,500 attempts) in career interception percentage at 2.0, ahead of Neil O’Donnell (2.1) and Brady (2.2).
- Rodgers finished in the top 10 in nearly every major passing category again this season, despite missing the Week 15 contest at New England. He finished No. 3 in passer rating (101.2), No. 7 in yards (3,922), tied for No. 6 in TDs (28), and No. 2 in 25-yard passes (40).
- Rodgers threw four TD passes at Minnesota in Week 11, his regular-season career high. His passer rating of 141.3 (22-of-31, 301 yards), was the second-best single game mark in his career behind only his 155.4 rating at Cleveland on Oct. 25, 2009.
- Rodgers joined Eagles QB Michael Vick (at Washington, Nov. 15) and Brady (at Detroit, Nov. 25, vs. N.Y. Jets, Dec. 6) as the only QBs to post a 140-plus passer rating, 300 yards passing and four passing TDs in a game this season.
- He matched that career-best TD total with four against the Giants in Week 16, and his 404 yards passing were a regular-season career best. It was the 10th game in which he had three-or-more TD passes and no INTs, the most by an NFL quarterback within three seasons of his first NFL start. It topped Kurt Warner’s mark of nine from 1999-2001.
- Last season, Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards as he became the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter.
- In 2009, Rodgers joined Young (San Francisco, 1998) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 TDs and rush for 300 yards and five TDs in the same season.
- In 47 career starts, Rodgers has eclipsed the century mark in passer rating 25 times and recorded 14 games of 300-plus yards. He posted his 20th career 100-plus passer rating game in just his 36th career start, which ranks third among NFL QBs since 1970 behind only Warner (33) and Romo (34).
- Rodgers threw 70 TD passes in his first 40 career starts, a Packers franchise record.
NOT IN A GIVING MOOD
- Last season the Packers set a franchise mark with a league-low 16
- giveaways, and while this year’s team had 22 (No. 10 in the NFL), it also
- accomplished something that even the record-setting one in 2009 could
- In the five games from Oct. 31-Dec. 5, Green Bay turned the ball over just one time. That came at Atlanta in Week 12 when QB Aaron Rodgers fumbled at the goal line in the second quarter.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in franchise history that the Packers turned the ball over just one time over a five-game span in a season.
- In the Week 13 win over San Francisco, Rodgers did not throw an interception for the fifth straight game, his career high. The last Packers QB to not be picked off in five straight starts in a season was Bart Starr in 1966.
- Rodgers was intercepted in Week 14 at Detroit when a deep pass down the middle went off WR Greg Jennings’ hands and into S Amari Spievey’s. That snapped a streak of 181 attempts without an interception for Rodgers, good for No. 2 in franchise history. It put him behind only Bart Starr (294 in 1964-65) for the franchise record. Starr’s mark ranks No. 3 in NFL history.
- The 22 giveaways on the season brought the Packers’ three-year total (2008-10) to 59 turnovers. That is the fewest over a three-year span by the Packers since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978, besting the previous mark of 67 from 1994-96.
- If the Packers don’t commit a turnover, they’re almost guaranteed to win. They have now won 44 of 48 games (.917) playing turnover-free football since a loss at Dallas, Nov. 18, 1996. Green Bay’s only losses in such games during that stretch came three times against Minnesota, twice in Minneapolis (2005, ’08) and once at home (2009), and in Week 15 last year at Pittsburgh.
- Green Bay is 20-3 (.870) under Head Coach Mike McCarthy when it doesn’t commit a turnover.
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won 46 of their last 50 games when they don’t turn the ball over.
MAKING THEM PAY WITH TAKEAWAYS
- After tying for the league lead in points off of takeaways in 2009, the Packers were productive in that area once again this season.
- Green Bay finished No. 5 in the NFL with 111 points off of takeaways this season, the Packers’ third straight top-5 ranking in the category. The Packers are the only team in the NFL to finish in the top 5 in points off of takeaways in each of the last three seasons.
- The Packers have been especially productive at Lambeau Field, having scored points off a turnover in 16 of their last 18 home games.
- The Packers posted a plus-10 turnover ratio on the season, good for No. 4 in the NFL.
- Of the Packers’ 32 takeaways this season, 15 of them were converted into touchdowns. That 46.9 TD percentage ranked No. 4 in the NFL, and Green Bay’s 15 TDs off of takeaways were tied for No. 2 in the league behind New England (18).
- Green Bay averaged 3.47 points off of turnovers this season, good for No. 8 in the league.
- The Packers were No. 2 in the league with 24 interceptions behind only New England (25) and were tied for No. 2 in INTs for TDs (three).
- With LB Clay Matthews’ INT for a TD in Week 9 vs. Dallas, the Packers have now posted at least three INTs for TDs in each of the last three seasons. That is the first time in franchise history that Green Bay has accomplished that feat. The Packers have posted at least three INTs for TDs in four of five seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- The Packers had 11 different players post an interception this season, the most by a Green Bay team since 11 in 2002.
- Green Bay posted 30 INTs and 10 fumble recoveries in 2009, which it turned into 141 points. The 40 takeaways led the NFL, and the 141 points scored off those takeaways tied New Orleans for most in the NFL.
- The 30 interceptions led the league and was the team’s highest single-season total since 1981, when it also had 30.
- Last season Green Bay surpassed its 2008 total of 124 points off takeaways, which led the NFL. It also eclipsed its ’08 total in interceptions (22) and fumble recoveries (six) while at the same time protecting the ball at a better clip. Green Bay’s 16 giveaways was the lowest total in the NFL in 2009.
- During McCarthy’s tenure, the Packers have a 36-6 (.857) record when they come out ahead in the game in turnover ratio, and a 6-20 (.231) record when they lose the takeaway battle. Under McCarthy, Green Bay is 20-3 (.870) when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better.
- The Packers rank No. 3 in the NFL with a plus-45 turnover ratio since 2006 behind only New England (plus-59).
- Punting indoors at Detroit in Week 14 for the third and final time this season, P Tim Masthay made the most of the opportunity.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Masthay became the first punter in franchise history to post a 50-yard average in a game with eight or more attempts.
- Masthay recorded a 50.3-yard gross average on his eight punts against the Lions, as well as a season-high net average of 43.4 (min. three attempts).
- He posted four punts of 50-plus yards on the afternoon, including a career-long 62-yard kick in the first quarter.
- Masthay became the first Packers punter to register four 50-yard punts in the same game since Jon Ryan did so on Nov. 12, 2006, at the Metrodome against the Vikings.
- He placed 25 punts inside the 20 this season, the most by a Packers punter since Josh Bidwell recorded 26 punts inside the 20 in 2002.
- Masthay was especially productive over the final nine games, ranking No. 3 in the NFL in net average (39.9), No. 9 in gross average (44.2), and tied for No. 4 in punts inside the 20 (20) over that span.
- Masthay earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance at the N.Y. Jets in Week 8 as he became just the second punter in franchise history to win the honor (Craig Hentrich, Week 11, 1994).
- With five punts dropped inside the 20 against the Jets, Masthay tied a single-game franchise record (stat kept since 1976), tying David Beverly, who accomplished the feat on Oct. 8, 1978, against Chicago. He registered a 41.5-yard net average on eight punts.
- In the three Lambeau Field games in Dec./Jan., Masthay recorded a 36.8-yard net average and a 42.3 gross.
- Masthay finished the season with a 37.6-yard net average, which matched the best mark by a Packers punter since 1976 (Ryan, 2007).
- Facing Bears Pro Bowl returner Devin Hester this past Sunday, who finished the season with the best mark in NFL history (min. 30 attempts) at 17.1 yards per punt return, Masthay placed four of eight punts inside the 20 and recorded a 36.6-yard net average. Hester only had two punt returns on the afternoon for a total of 35 yards.
- Masthay became the first Packers punter (since 1976) to place four-plus punts inside the 20 in two games in the same season.
STINGY AGAINST THE PASS
- Green Bay had its most productive pass-defense season of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure, finishing near the top of the league in several categories.
- The Packers finished the season ranked No. 5 in the league in pass defense, allowing their opponents just 194.2 yards per game. That topped the best mark under McCarthy, ahead of the 201.1 passing yards per game allowed in 2009, and was the best since 2005 (167.5).
- After Washington QB Donovan McNabb passed for 357 yards against Green Bay in Week 5, the Packers allowed opposing QBs to pass for just 185.9 yards per contest, No. 3 in the NFL over that span.
- The defense limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 67.2 this season, which ranked No. 1 in the NFL. That rating is the best by Green Bay since 1997 (59.0).
- The Packers recorded 24 interceptions, good for No. 2 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks completed 56.2 percent of their passes (No. 4).
- Green Bay gave up only 16 TD passes this season, which ranked No. 4 in the NFL, after allowing 29 TDs through the air in 2009. The 16 passing TDs were the fewest given up by Green Bay since 2001 (14).
- In Week 15 at New England, the defense limited Patriots QB Tom Brady to just 163 yards through the air on 15-of-24 passing. Entering the game, Brady had eclipsed the 300-yard mark in four of the previous five games, averaging 314.4 yards per contest over that span.
- Bears QB Jay Cutler came into this past Sunday’s game with a 104.6 passer rating in his previous five games, but Green Bay’s defense limited him to just a 43.5 rating on 21-of-39 passing for 168 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions.
PRODUCTION APLENTY INSIDE THE 20
- After strong showings in 2008 and 2009, Green Bay once again found itself among the most efficient teams in the league in the red zone this season.
- The Packers scored touchdowns on 32 of 53 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 60.4 percent touchdown rate was No. 6 in the NFL and No. 2 in the NFC, and the 32 TDs ranked No. 6.
- Green Bay’s 260 points in the red zone this season (32 touchdowns, 12 field goals) were good for No. 8 in the league, and its average of 4.91 points per red-zone trip ranked No. 8 in the NFL as well.
- The Packers posted their finest performance of the season in Week 16 against the Giants, scoring on 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) red-zone chances. That percentage was the best this season (min. three opportunities).
- The Packers’ production came in fewer opportunities than 2009, as they finished tied for No. 10 in the league with the 53 red-zone possessions. Last season, Green Bay finished No. 6 in the league with 62 red-zone drives.
- Green Bay matched its highest red-zone conversion mark under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, when the Packers ranked No. 6 in the NFL with a 60.4 percent touchdown rate in 2008. The previous high mark came in 2003 when the Packers finished No. 2 in the NFL with a 65.4 conversion rate.
- Some of Green Bay’s success in the red zone has to be attributed to the play of QB Aaron Rodgers, who has been one of the more efficient signal-callers in the league inside the 20 since taking over as the starter in 2008.
- In Week 7 against Minnesota, Rodgers threw a red-zone interception for the only time in his 47 career starts to date. Since 2008, he has registered a 107.4 rating on 132-of-213 passing (62.0 percent) for 818 yards and 55 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers connected on 47-of-71 passes (66.2 percent) for 280 yards and 19 TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010 for a 107.4 passer rating (No. 3 in the NFL, min. 50 attempts).
CONTROLLING THE CLOCK
- The Packers led the NFL in 2009 in time of possession, and the team closed out this season by winning battle in that category in six of the final eight games.
- Facing a Giants team in Week 16 that entered the game ranked No. 1 in the league at 33:14, the Packers dominated the time of possession at 37:01, the second time in the three games that Green Bay controlled the clock for 37-plus minutes. New York had won the time-of-possession battle in 11 of its first 14 games, and the 22:59 mark by the Giants at Lambeau Field was a season low.
- In the Packers’ Week 15 loss at New England, they controlled the clock for 40:48, their best mark since a 41:39 effort vs. San Francisco last season in Week 11.
- It was also the most time of possession any opponent had registered against New England since the Steelers held the ball for 42:58 at Pittsburgh on Oct. 31, 2004.
- The Packers finished the season ranked No. 8 in the NFL with a time-of-possession average of 31:36. Of the seven teams that were ahead of the Packers, five qualified for the playoffs.
- The Packers’ league-leading average of 33:03 last season was the team’s best mark since 1977, the year the Elias Sports Bureau began keeping the statistic.
- Green Bay led the NFL this season with 30 drives of five-plus minutes, an improvement over last season’s mark of 22 (tied for No. 14).
- The Packers also checked in at No. 5 with 30 10-play drives, a jump up from 2009 when they finished No. 22 in the NFL with 23 drives of 10-plus plays.
KEEPING THE CHAINS MOVING
- Green Bay’s offense didn’t enjoy quite the same level of success as it did last season on third down when it finished No. 3 at 47.0 percent, but the unit significantly improved its play during the second half of the season.
- Entering the Week 9 contest vs. Dallas ranked No. 26 in the league with a 35.1 conversion rate on third down this season, the offense was successful on 10-of-15 third-down opportunities against the Cowboys, including 7-of-8 in the first half.
- That 66.7 rate was the best single-game performance by a Green Bay offense since the Packers were successful on 71.4 percent of their third-down opportunities (10-of-14) vs. Cleveland on Sept. 18, 2005.
- The Packers followed that up with an 8-of-15 outing (53.3 percent) on third down in Week 11 at Minnesota, the first time this season Green Bay topped the 50-percent conversion mark in two straight games.
- After a 4-of-12 performance in the Week 12 loss at Atlanta, the Packers bounced back with a 9-of-15 outing (60.0 percent) in the win over San Francisco the following Sunday.
- Over the final eight games, the Packers converted at a 46.8-percent clip (52-of-111) on third down compared to the 35.1 mark (33-of-94) in the first half of the season.
- Green Bay moved up 18 spots in the league rankings since Week 9, finishing at No. 8 in the NFL with a 41.5 conversion rate. That is the fourth straight season that the Packers have finished in the top 10 in the category.
PACKERS EARN PLAYOFF BERTH WITH WIN OVER BEARS
- The Green Bay Packers are playoff-bound.
- That statement was no certainty, however, until the final moments of Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field against the archrival Bears. The Packers needed a fourth-quarter touchdown and a Nick Collins interception in the red zone to thwart Chicago’s last drive for a tense but uplifting 10-3 decision in a defensive slugfest in front of 70,833.
- With the win, the Packers earned a Wild Card berth and the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs, with a trip to No. 3 seed Philadelphia next Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (CST). Green Bay finished the regular season 10-6, winning a three-way strength-of-victory tiebreaker over the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the conference’s final playoff spot.
- “We’ve had a different road we traveled this year and we’ve met every challenge,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re at 10 wins and we’re one of six teams in the NFC. I’m very proud of our football team, just everything we’ve accomplished. Nothing’s come easy for us and we wouldn’t want it any other way.”
- When the day started, the Packers still could have gotten into the playoffs with a loss as long as the Giants and Bucs also lost. But by kickoff, Tampa Bay had beaten New Orleans, forcing the Packers to win to get in. And as it turned out, all the speculation about the Bears resting their starters with having locked up the No. 2 seed turned out to be just that – speculation. The Bears (11-5), who had no chance for the No. 1 seed when the Falcons won an early game Sunday, played their starters the entire game and made the Packers earn it.
- “I wasn’t surprised about it,” cornerback Tramon Williams said of the Bears’ approach. “I would have tried to put us out too. It was a great, hard-fought game, a great way to go into the playoffs.”
- The pressure seemed to mount as the Packers reached Chicago territory twice early but came up empty due to short-yardage failures and a Donald Driver fumble. Then the Bears marched the length of the field and had first-and-goal on the 4 when the Green Bay defense – which tied a season-high with six sacks – made the first of several huge stops in the game.
- The first of two sacks from little-known linebacker Erik Walden on third down forced Chicago to settle for a field goal, and the Packers went in at halftime annoyed with their offensive struggles but down only 3-0.
- “Just frustration was the biggest thing, and knowing we needed to win and knowing we were struggling on offense,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “There wasn’t a whole lot said as far as ‘rah-rah’ or anything. It was just, ‘Hey, let’s play better, let’s execute better.’”
- That didn’t happen right away, but fortunately the defense continued to hold up its end. The Packers stopped the Bears on fourth-and-2 at the Green Bay 40 to open the second half, but one play later the defense was right back on the field in a tougher spot after Rodgers was picked off by Charles Tillman, whose 42-yard return put the Bears on the Green Bay 15.
- Just limiting Chicago to a field goal there would have been a victory for the defense, but the unit did even better. Due to a holding penalty, the Bears were in third-and-19 from the 24 when quarterback Jay Cutler tried to force a pass into the end zone to Johnny Knox, who was double-covered. Safety Charlie Peprah hauled in an easy interception, and the Packers still trailed by only 3.
- “That’s huge,” linebacker Desmond Bishop said. “Three-zero looks a lot better than 6-0, and like I said, that’s the mentality we have when we take the field. Sudden change like that, we’re going to go out and try to get a turnover.”
- It still took the offense a while to get going, even after a 41-yard punt return by Williams and a 33-yard strike from Rodgers to receiver Greg Jennings to make it first-and-goal on the 1. A handoff to John Kuhn got nowhere before Rodgers faked a sneak and then flipped the ball back to running back Brandon Jackson, but the overhand throw was low and Jackson bobbled it and lost 2 yards. Then Rodgers was sacked by Tommie Harris on third down, leading to a tying field goal and a wasted opportunity.
- Still, there was a little more than a quarter to play, the game was 3-3, and the postseason remained within reach. For everything that had gone wrong, that was all that mattered.
- “I don’t think any of us were happy with how it was going, but we were still in the game,” cornerback Charles Woodson said. “As long as you’re in the game, you have a chance.”
- The defense again came up big after Chicago’s Danieal Manning returned the ensuing kickoff out to midfield. Mammoth defensive end Howard Green and Walden recorded sacks on first and third down, respectively, to force a punt, and the Packers answered with their best drive of the day.
- Big plays aren’t easy to come by against Chicago’s defense, but the Packers – who couldn’t get anything going on the ground with 16 rushes for 39 yards by a trio of backs – kept taking their shots and it finally paid off. Facing third-and-3 from his own 32, Rodgers found Driver over the middle for 21 yards. On the very next snap, a play-action fake bought Rodgers time to fire deep to Jennings down the right sideline for 46 yards to the 1. Jennings finished with four catches for 97 yards.
- This time, the offense took advantage of first-and-goal, and another play-action fake allowed Rodgers (19-of-28, 229 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 89.7 rating) to hit tight end Donald Lee for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown with 12:42 left.
- “We knew the offense would eventually come around and at least get a score,” Woodson said. “They did that, and we were able to hold onto it.”
- Some great work from the special teams helped. On the Packers’ last two punts in the fourth quarter, Tim Masthay’s Aussie-style kicks were downed inside the 5. The last one was at the 2, giving the Bears 98 yards to go with 4:49 on the clock.
- With Cutler (21-of-39, 168 yards, 2 INT, 43.5 rating) converting three third downs with pass completions, Chicago drove all the way to the Green Bay 32-yard line but had just 20 seconds left. Cutler then tried to go deep over the middle to Devin Hester, and Collins stepped in front to pick the ball off at the 11.
- That ended this one, and started the Packers’ postseason, if you don’t count the last two weeks when the Packers needed wins over New York and Chicago to stay alive.
- “No doubt about it, this is where we planned to be at,” Williams said. “We’re here now.”
- But how far can they go? The Packers will be on the road for as long as they last in the postseason, and the defense is playing as well as it has all year, keeping the Giants and Bears out of the end zone for the last six quarters.
- Even Rodgers admitted, however, that the offense can’t rely on the defense that much and must shake itself from its pattern of ups and downs. Last week’s 45 points were followed by this week’s 10, and as much credit as Rodgers rightly handed out to Chicago’s defense on Sunday, that was a playoff defense the Packers faced, and they know they must step it up to advance.
- “We can’t have the kind of inconsistent performances we’ve had this year that have forced us to be the No. 6 seed,” said Rodgers, who proceeded to call on himself for more efficient, turnover-free play from here on out.
- “When you’re playing in the playoffs, it’s the best of the best. We can’t expect them to hold every team to three points.”
- No, but one thing about this Green Bay team is it will find a way to give itself a chance. That’s all the Packers have asked for, and that’s what they’ve got now.
- “It’s one at a time,” McCarthy said. “We feel very good about our chances. We’ll play anybody, anytime, anywhere. That’s been our motto and we’re well-oiled. We’ve been challenged and we’ve learned from those challenges. Trust me, we’ll be ready when we get to Philadelphia.”